June 27 2017
About a year ago, I went with another OMS missionary to check on
our short-term missionaries working in the province of Loja, Ecuador. It was a
trip we made regularly to encourage our short termers. We didn’t know that this
visit would be a God-divine appointment.
A short time after
arriving at the short termers’ house, we heard a knock at the door. Dario and
Isaac, two friends of our short-term missionaries, were welcomed inside. They
sat down and began to ask questions about God. They asked us to share more with
them, thus beginning their faith journey.
Fast forward 12
months and the roles have shifted. Our team of 8 now lives in Loja. Recently, I
was sitting in the home of Dario’s family, listening to him share about the Scriptures.
He presented the plan of salvation and led two family members and a neighbor to
Christ. Dario is the director of one of the main schools in town and is using
his position to spread the Gospel. He has been inviting the students' parents
to come together and listen to us (OMS Loja missionaries) share about godly
parenting. He is casting a vision for children and youth programming so that
all ages can be reached for Christ.
Why such a
difference? Shortly after we began regularly meeting with Dario and his wife,
Dayana, we learned that she was having trouble getting pregnant. In a culture
where family is everything, a couple with no children was considered damaged
goods. They shared their hearts with us, and we prayed together. We assured
them that they were valued and important to Christ.
A few weeks ago,
when our missionaries arrived for the discipleship meeting, Dayana had a sweet
smirk on her face. As greetings were passed around, she motioned for her
husband to look at the paper on the coffee table. Right there, the team and
Dario found out that Dayana was pregnant!
Dayana and Dario
did not choose to ask Christ into their lives to get what they wanted. They
asked Christ into their lives so that they could be transformed by his love.
They went from brokenness to restoration. After giving their all to Christ,
they received the desires of their heart.
God is at work in
Loja Province. This is just one story of how God is moving in the hearts of his
people. Sometimes, the progress is quite slow; sometimes, the progress seems to
come in like a rushing river. Please continue to pray for workers to help us
reach a province full of hungry people searching for the truth of God’s Word.
By OMS Ecuador missionary, BJ Williamson
June 23 2017
prayed for a long time that God would just open the right doors and shut the
wrong ones. I prayed for God to put me in situations where I would have no
other choice but to trust in him."
And that’s how
God intervened in Maranda Grabbe's life and brought her to OMS as the
Missionary Care intern for the summer. It’s clear to see that her passion for
people was instilled into her heart by God the minute she was born. Having gone
through her own trials and hardships over the years, she found herself wanting
to pour into others who were going through similar things. Maranda shared how
important it is to have someone to lean on because "it was very evident
when I was lacking those people to cling to." It is for this reason that
she is finishing a degree in Christian Counseling at Central Christian College
of the Bible in Moberly, Missouri.
God recently revealed
in her a passion for missions, for reaching the lost and the broken. Nearly a
year ago, she and some friends were provided an opportunity to visit Greece on
a mission trip. Maranda felt herself being called to this mission trip, but she
had to acknowledge that she was struggling with various personal issues. She
shared how contradictory her emotions were in these moments. She was deeply
happy for her friends and the good work they would do, while equally
disappointed that she couldn't help serve others. She knew, however, that she
first needed to explore where her anxiety and depression were coming from, and
learn how to give them up to God. But this desire to serve in Greece was placed
on her heart for a reason, and she didn't let it go. With hard work,
dedication, and prayer, she was able to serve in Greece just two months
But she didn’t
accomplish this on her own. “God had been working on me,” she shared. The
mission trip to Greece "changed my life and wrecked my world." When
the time came to choose an internship, Maranda wasn’t sure what it would mean
to volunteer her entire summer to a mission, but she relied on God for the
This reliance on God,
the one who provides and protects, led Maranda to choose OMS.
“I love how
welcoming and caring everyone is. They are truly happy to have me here serving
with them, and it has been very encouraging knowing that."
By Mykaela Alvey, Summer Communications intern
June 16 2017
Down a steep, one-lane,
curvy mountainous dirt road, across a little river, and up the other side sits
a little adobe and wooden farm house. There are chickens, ducks, dogs, and
kittens running around the yard. A hammock, table, and bench are on the little
porch. Our friend Maria is always ready to welcome us.
We met Maria last
May when she heard about the medical team that was in Chaguarpamba. On her
paper she marked that she would like to receive a visit from us. The first time
we went, we weren’t sure how to find her house. After asking around, we were
told, “to go down the road and, where you see the big tree, that is where her
Maria used to live
in Guayaquil, but when her parents were sick, Maria moved back to their house
to take care of them until they passed, leaving her the farm. One day, she told
us about her sisters in Guayaquil and how they were Christians. She shared that
she used to enjoy going with them and hearing God’s Word. She prayed with us to
dedicate her life to Christ and shared how her heart breaks for others who
place their faith in idols that can't help them. She feels alone because no one
near her has faith in Christ. I handed her a little card with spaces to be
filled with seven names for people God places on her heart to pray for. She was
excited to be able to play a part, through prayer, in the lives of people she
cares about. Every time we go and share a Bible story with her and ask if we
can pray for her she answers, “Sure!”
We loved being a
part of bringing the Good News to her, and we hope to eventually plant a church
she can invest in.
heart means we rarely leave her place empty handed. Even though she doesn’t
have a steady income, she always has something to share, like papayas, oranges,
and bananas. She invites us to go with her to pick the fruit that she wants us
to take home. It is her way of saying thank you.
We are praying
that Maria will have the boldness to generously share Christ like she shares
her fruit; that her family, friends, and neighbors will know her by her
willingness to share Christ; and that one day, there will be a church out in
this little farming community of Achiotes.
By Jennifer Riggs,
OMS missionary, Loja, Ecuador
June 15 2017
knew I had a heart for international people, for helping others, nurturing them
and loving and caring for them … that's when I really found my faith and my
identity in Christ …"
is taking her passion for people and applying it in the Human Resources Department
of One Mission Society. She is serving as a mobilizer this summer, a job that
compliments her major of Missions and Ministry at Kentucky Christian
Devondra grew up
in a home that wasn't always focused on Christ, but she was fortunate enough to
have an aunt who always invested in her spiritually. Devondra reflected on her
search for Christ, "I didn't really grow up in a household where Christ
was the center … where we talked about Christ, [or] where I learned anything
about Christ, so anything outside of the prior knowledge I already had, I had
to go seek." And that's exactly what she did on June 2, 2013, when she was
saved and gave her life to Christ.
Upon graduating from
high school, she made the decision to seek a nursing degree at Kentucky
Christian University, but God had other plans about her future career. After
spending two years in the nursing program, Devondra noticed God closing doors
that led to her becoming a nurse. As a result of this, she made the
split-second decision to change her major to Ministry with a focus in Missions.
student at KCU is asked to fulfill an internship before graduation. It was this
requirement that led Devondra to the International Conference of Missions
(ICOM). She quickly saw that there were many organizations who were not keen on
giving Devondra information on what she would be doing, except for one.
Devondra talks about how throughout the entire day she just kept bumping into
Heather, one of OMS' Mobilization workers, and it made an impact on her.
Devondra felt a sense of home when she was talking with OMS, something she
didn't feel with the other organizations. She reflected, "I really felt
like I was wanted and someone really cared about my spiritual journey."
It was this
feeling of "home" that brought Devondra to serve with the OMS this
"OMS is a
team that is always willing to walk alongside other coworkers, missionaries,
and those coming to Christ."
June 13 2017
Jennifer!” I heard my name being shouted. I turned around to see a
nine-year-old girl with her New Testament open. “Look, I found the memory verse
in my Bible that you taught us last week.” I looked at her New Testament where
she had the verse circled in blue ink. She was so excited to show me how she
had found it on her own.
Christmas program, we gave the kids each a New Testament as a gift, which they
proudly bring with them every week to our Bread and Fish kids club.
Jaclyn, one of our
Loja Challengers who served for a year, started Bread and Fish a year ago while
living in Chaguarpamba. This ministry involved her playing soccer and sharing
Bible stories with them. When she left, we took over what she started and kept
We hold the kids
club every Saturday in the open-air basketball court. Most of the kids come
running or riding their bikes, but some of them are dropped off by their
parents. We sing songs, learn Bible stories and verses, make crafts, play
games, and have snacks. We also have some special events throughout the year,
like a Christmas program and VBS.
The kids are
learning and growing in their faith. They come hungry to learn and desire to be
I was teaching the story about how Jesus healed Jairus’ daughter, and my
heart was filled with joy as I looked at these kids sitting around me with
their open Bibles. I asked for a volunteer to read a verse and was met with a
chorus of “pick me, pick me.” They were so eager to read from their Bible’s
that they didn’t want anyone else to have a turn.
Most of the kids
are between six and ten years old, but there are two older girls who come and
enjoy it as much as the younger kids. One of the older girls, a 16-year-old,
has a desire to be a leader. So, we invest in coaching her. As she grows in her
walk with God and in her ability as a leader, maybe someday she will be leading
the next generation of kids.
God is touching
the hearts of the young.
Riggs, OMS missionary, serving in Loja, Ecuador
June 9 2017
“I am excited to explore how I can combine writing and my faith.”
Mykaela Alvey, a
recent college graduate, is the journalism intern in the Communications
Department at One Missions Society for the summer 2017. Despite her current desire
to be a part of a mission organization, she only recently listened to this call
Mykaela grew up
as a preacher’s kid. From a young age, she fell into the image that she thought
a pastor’s kid is supposed to have. “I was a leader in the youth group, I
volunteered for the children’s ministry and Bible camp, which is not a bad
thing, but it made it easy to have this mask and make it look like I had it all
together.” Behind this preacher’s kid façade, Mykaela’s relationship with God
was actually stagnant.
It wasn’t until
her junior year of college, after watching the movie War Room, a story
of a woman who turns to prayer when her life becomes difficult, that Mykaela
felt her faith changing.
Mykaela felt a nudge to buy a journal. “I later realized this nudge was from
God.” This purchase radically changed her faith in God and propelled it
forward. She had spent her entire life feeling like she couldn’t pray, but this
purchase made her realize that this journal was her link to God, her own way of
Mykaela began to
grow stronger in her faith and by her senior year, she felt a call from God to
go into either ministry or missions. “I think it [the call] was there my entire
life, but I just chose to ignore it because there were more 'important
things'—worldly things to do.” She finally decided to listen to this nudge from
God and explore it.
Mykaela, has a
degree in history and writing and was not looking to give up her specific
interests. She wanted to find a job in ministry or missions where she could
still pursue her writing passion.
So when she learned
about and applied for the journalism internship at OMS, she was excited about
what God had in store for her. Then God answered. Mykaela shed a few joyful
tears when she officially received the internship position.
“Even though I’m only a summer intern, I feel like I am one small drop in
this pool of water of making a difference, and I really like that I get to be a
part of something like that.”
By Chelsea Long, OMS Summer Communications and Marketing Intern
June 6 2017
In 2015, God opened the doors for a few OMS missionaries serving around Ecuador to come together with the goal of reaching the unreached
population of Loja Province, a mountainous area in southern Ecuador with less than 1% evangelical
Christians. This team is actively working to make a
difference in the lives of people who may never hear about
Jesus Christ from anyone else.
up the Loja team?
BJ: The Loja
team is made up of BJ and
Andrea Williamson,Tom and
Susan Stiles, and Jennifer Riggs.
OMS: What is
the ministry focus in Loja? What do you hope to accomplish?
BJ: Our focus
is to raise up house churches in areas where there is no church.We do this by discipling new
believers as the leaders of these house churches.We look
for key people who are interested in the Gospel and disciple them in the Word,
them to make a list of people who need to know the Gospel so they can pray for
those people on the list. Each week, we share a different evangelistic passage that they will, in turn, share with one of those people they
are praying for.
OMS: When and
why did you relocate?
BJ: Two years
ago,we prayed about where the Lord wanted us to start a
ministry and found out that the western part of Loja Province is one of the least reached areas of Ecuador. We have since
then relocated to Catamayo, our
center for being able to travel to those unreached areas.
different cities or villages are you
focusing on? How many evangelicals are in this area? How many churches?
BJ: Our focus
is on the Chaguarpamba and Balsas counties and the northern part of Paltas county. Combined, these areas have a
population of roughly 20,000, but they have only one small church.
Even with the church,there
wouldn't be 50
believers. This is truly an area untouched by other ministries.
OMS: What are
the biggest challenges you face? Your
BJ: It is
challenging to travel as much as we do and to adjust
the traditional beliefs held by 99% of the people we are in contact with. The
religion we often see finds its roots in Roman Catholicism, but it has been
mixed with other religions over the years, making it an interesting combination
of beliefs,practices, and superstitions. Most people fear the change that Christianity
calls them to make because the
religion they are familiar with focuses on salvation through practices or tradition.
But, our greatest joy is seeing people reading God’s
Word and getting excited about learning about Christ and putting their faith in
Editor’s note: We will be sharing several
stories of changed lives in Loja in the next 4 weeks, so keep watching for
Also, to learn more about Loja and what the team
is doing there, here’s a video that will help make you see it through the team’s
Loja team interviewed by OMS summer Communications intern, Mykaela Alvey.